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What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2018

Alyson Edmunds, Head of Digital Innovation at O2, outlines what we should expect to see next week at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.

Next week the world’s technology and communications professionals will turn their attention towards Barcelona, where Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC18) is taking place from 26 February. This year’s theme is “creating a better future”.

The annual Mobile World Congress is arguably the world’s greatest mobile event. Last year it attracted more than 108,000 visitors from 208 countries, keen to discover the latest innovations from more than 2,300 international exhibitors and 320 expert speakers. Telefónica UK will be at MWC18, and I will be blogging throughout the week with news on the latest technology for business. Here are my predictions on the six areas I expect to see dominate the news next week:

  1. New product launches

With the exception of Apple, all the big handset brands will be in attendance. We’ll be there to give you our first impressions on any significant mobile phone product launches regarding their business capabilities.

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)

We have been talking about the ascendency of IoT (Internet of Things) for a couple of years. With innovation promoted as one of MWC18’s core themes, we expect to see new IoT enabled devices, as well as networking technologies, partnerships and collaborations using the technology.

  1. 5G

Following the debut of 5G at this year’s winter Olympics in Korea, we expect to see commercial grade 5G prototype products on show at MWC.

Just this week, we announced our plans to launch a 5G test bed at The O2 later this year, bringing a 5G experience to the world’s most popular entertainment venue. Installation will begin in March, with visitors able to enjoy the technology from the second half of 2018, launching with a range of customer demonstrations of the latest ground-breaking 5G technology.

  1. AI

We also anticipate to see a lot about Applied AI, from machine learning to artificial intelligence technologies. Digital Assistants and their associated technology will be prominent, and we expect to see a new crop of mobile phones with embedded AI hardware.

  1. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Whilst the biggest news stories for virtual and augmented reality have centred on apps and gaming, we expect to see a new focus on their applications in business, healthcare, retail, digital marketing and social media. We look forward to seeing what the business future looks like for VR and AR.

  1. Emerging mobile technology for a better future

MWC18’s rallying cry this year is about creating a better future through mobile technology. Considerable focus will be on consumer gadgetry. I will also be looking for mobile technologies that support business and industry applications as well.

One obvious example is transport. With so much global attention on autonomous vehicles and the future of transportation, I expect to see several new innovations and emerging technologies specifically for the transport sector.


This year’s event feels particularly significant for me. MWC18 will be promoting Women4Tech, a movement championing diversity in the mobile and tech industry. I’m planning to attend a number of the strategic sessions that focus on this subject and will include details on relevant news stories on here.

If you are planning to visit MWC18 at any time during the week, do pay us a visit. Telefónica, O2’s parent company, is exhibiting on Stand 3K31, which is right in the middle of Hall 3.

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